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KevinV
05-21-2010, 02:07 PM
I'm curious as to how many of you are comfortable singing harmony. I've recently joined an established trio which expanded to a quartet with me. They're really big on using harmony and as a baritone I've got low harmony on most pieces. I've never worked on harmony before this so it's a bit of a struggle but I'm getting it. In addition to band practice I'm working closely with one of the members who is coaching me in singing and I'm working on my own with an instructional CD that teaches harmony.

So how many of you are comfortable singing harmony?

Latinleaders
05-21-2010, 02:16 PM
I'm quite comfortable singing in harmony.
I do a lot of singing at church usually doing tenor parts or a little improv where I can for any songs we don't have written music for.

SweetWaterBlue
05-21-2010, 02:19 PM
I'm not comfortable with it at all, although I would like to be. I do remember when I was in elementary school and dinosaurs roamed the earth, we used to do it in chorus. It didn't seem to difficult then, but I have mostly lost whatever I knew about it then. As I recall it was mostly a matter of the chorus leader going over our parts separately with us, and then us memorizing them and trying to tune out the sound of the others. I suspect people who do it often just learn to listen to both parts.

seeso
05-21-2010, 02:27 PM
It's tough when you start out. Keep at it, because it's fun when you get it.

KamakOzzie
05-21-2010, 04:04 PM
Kevin, I'm in the same boat as you. I fell in with the remnants of another band last August. I had never really sung more that a few songs with my previous group. They wanted me to sing tenor in a Bluegrass band. That first gig in September was AWFULL! I have progressed a long way since then, but still have more work ahead.

As a bass player, I instinctly hear the root and fifth. That makes me try to go too high and hit an octave above the baritone part. When I sing along with the stereo, I do pretty well. I hit a good note, maybe just not MY note. (I call it singing bari-tenor) We have a vocal practice every so often with just a guitar where we work on the parts. The guys are great and have helped me a lot.

What is the instructional CD you are using? That might help me, too.

Bill

KevinV
05-21-2010, 04:35 PM
What is the instructional CD you are using? That might help me, too.

It's a 3 CD set called Harmony Singing by Ear (http://www.amazon.com/Harmony-Singing-Ear-Susan-Anders/dp/B0009WJ2PS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1274495632&sr=8-1) from Susan Anders. I got it on Amazon. There's a follow up to it if you make it through the first one and like it.

itsme
05-21-2010, 05:38 PM
I've sung in church and caroling groups before that do SATB. Everyone identifies with the soprano/melody part, but I'm more comfortable in the alto range. And let's face it, every SATB group needs some altos!

After a couple read thrus, I can usually sing the alto/harmony part with no problems at all. I guess it helps that I can read music and play other instruments. Voice is harder to read, though. On an instrument, you hit a note and it comes out. With voice, you're not always sure if you're on the correct note.

musicmonsterw
05-23-2010, 08:13 PM
I actually teach singing and one of the things I do is teach people how to sing harmony. I'm pretty comfortable with it. I prefer just making up the harmonies by ear but I'll use theory if need be. I've trained a lot to be able to hear intervals by ear. I've been in bands where I worked out the harmonies for the other vocalists and taught them how to do it.

Occasionally, I'm asked to write out charts for other performers. This video is an example of my work: I took a Baroque solo song by Henry Purcell and arranged it into 4-part SATB loosely in a madrigal style. I taught the actors their parts and rehearsed them.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KCideJh23E

Uke Gently Weeps
05-30-2010, 10:55 AM
Kevin, I'm in the same boat as you. I fell in with the remnants of another band last August. I had never really sung more that a few songs with my previous group. They wanted me to sing tenor in a Bluegrass band. That first gig in September was AWFULL! I have progressed a long way since then, but still have more work ahead.

As a bass player, I instinctly hear the root and fifth. That makes me try to go too high and hit an octave above the baritone part. When I sing along with the stereo, I do pretty well. I hit a good note, maybe just not MY note. (I call it singing bari-tenor) We have a vocal practice every so often with just a guitar where we work on the parts. The guys are great and have helped me a lot.

What is the instructional CD you are using? That might help me, too.

Bill

I'm totally with you on this. My dad has a bluegrass band and I fill in with them on bass occasionally. I've been singing tenor harmony since I was probably 8-9 years old but I can't do it while playing bass. Either I sing what I'm playing or I try and play the notes I'm supposed to sing. If I really work on a piece hard I can play a simple bass line and sing the tenor for a few bars but that's about it.

I sang in a mens chorus for a few years in college, 1st and second tenor, but in church if a hymn has 4 verses I'll usually sing each part once. Good practice. I find the alto line to the most difficult, as I'm not use to reading treble cleff very often.

Pippin
07-25-2010, 09:02 AM
Here is a link to me doing Desperado (all the harmonies are me).

http://www.tricornpublications.com/music/desperado.mp3

SweetWaterBlue
07-25-2010, 10:08 AM
Here is a link to me doing Desperado (all the harmonies are me).

http://www.tricornpublications.com/music/desperado.mp3

Nice work.

DAPuke
09-13-2010, 01:31 PM
I can sing a harmony if I am taught a part. I sing back up in a couple bands. I suck at trying to find my part. I end up singing someone else's part (the one I hear best) or an octave of the melody and think I'm harmonizing (dufus). Then again there are times when I fall into the right part.

DAPuke
09-18-2010, 09:27 AM
I know there's no uke in this but truly AWESOME harmony and lead vocals. Nice guit work by Espen Lind. It's a cover of Cohen's Hallelujah. I want to learn to play and sing this on the Makala. DAP
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2NEU6Xf7lM

Timbuck
01-09-2011, 12:22 AM
I was in a pro band for some years..we had a lot of harmony in the act..I don't have a great voice..but if I sung my parts clear and loud along with the other guys ..the overall harmony worked very good..the trick is to learn your part as well as you can, until in your head, it becomes the melody (we used to work them out on the piano) going up and down semitones were the hardest for me...Oh yes!and take every chance you get, to draw a deep breath in between vocals.

fitncrafty
01-09-2011, 03:59 AM
I'm curious as to how many of you are comfortable singing harmony. I've recently joined an established trio which expanded to a quartet with me. They're really big on using harmony and as a baritone I've got low harmony on most pieces. I've never worked on harmony before this so it's a bit of a struggle but I'm getting it. In addition to band practice I'm working closely with one of the members who is coaching me in singing and I'm working on my own with an instructional CD that teaches harmony.

So how many of you are comfortable singing harmony?

Hey Kevin.. you forgot the option about not being comfortable singing AT ALL.. yet alone figuring out how to sing in harmony.. However, good luck to you, I hope that you will share some videos with us soon!! Good luck to you!

Chris Tarman
01-09-2011, 04:36 AM
I sing some harmony in the country band I play in. I'm not as comfortable with it again yet as I was when I played with a different line-up of this band a few years ago. Back then, I had never ever tried to sing harmony, but after working some parts out with the lead singer, I got pretty good at it, and eventually could usually find a part. I didn't (and still don't) usually ever hear the original version of these songs, not being much of a country listener, so I just figure out my own bass lines and harmony parts, unless the singer shows me a harmony he wants. The original version of the band broke up and so for about 4 or 5 years I didn't sing at all. We got back together last year and I started singing again. It was pretty rough at first, especially since the new guitarist also sings harmony, and we haven't yet gotten to work out three part things. So generally, if he's singing, I don't. And vice versa. I think we'll get some three-part stuff worked out soon, once we can actually arrange a full practice (the drummer and I live 25 miles from the lead guitarist, and 60 miles from the other 2 guys... Colorado!).
I can totally relate to the other comments about playing bass and trying to sing harmony. It's kind of tough to play bass and sing ANYTHING at first, since you're so tuned in to the root and 5th. And I have a fairly high voice, so that makes it even tougher to find a part when half of my brain is concentrating on LOW notes! I enjoy it a lot though, and want to get better and more comfortable at it. I would love to get to the point where I can just harmonize on anything on the fly. That would be great for jam sessions and things.
Oh! One thing that helps a lot... when I played with the first line-up, I found that if I listened to The Beatles a LOT and took turns singing their parts... "Okay, now I'll listen to that and sing PAUL'S part this time...". One great thing about them is that they generally harmonized on the entire songs rather than just choruses.

UkuleleHill
01-09-2011, 04:38 AM
I love singing harmony :) Love love love it!!!

PoisonDart
01-09-2011, 04:58 AM
I'm trying to learn. I sing every week with several other people, but we don't assign parts so it's hard to know if I'm jumping around following different parts. Or sometimes I just follow the bass player a lot. I wish I was better at picking out singers when they are harmonizing. I need a better ear, I think.

PoisonDart
01-10-2011, 04:44 AM
Well I ordered that CD and they say it's shipped out! Can't wait to start working on this.

Tor
01-10-2011, 04:57 AM
There's a missing option:
"I can't do it, and I am not currently working on it."
(and that's me..)

SweetWaterBlue
01-11-2011, 07:33 AM
Too cold and icy here in atlanta to do much else (we are not used to it), so I am working on my harmony parts.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC64U-s7kqk

sukie
01-11-2011, 09:44 AM
I don't sing much, by the harmony part is what's fun.

musicmonsterw
01-11-2011, 10:10 AM
I played around with harmony parts more towards the end of last year. I did a doo wop version of a Christmas song. I think I'll do more doo wop with ukulele. Singing harmony on a video is a very good workout.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ViVkhcld34


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ViVkhcld34


This sucker has five-part harmony. Lead vocals with backing bass, baritone, and two tenor parts. I hope to do a few more this year.

SweetWaterBlue
01-11-2011, 10:20 AM
Nice work monster. Maybe one day I will master just two voices lol.

musicmonsterw
01-11-2011, 10:23 AM
Nice work monster. Maybe one day I will master just two voices lol.

Thanks! Lol. Yeah, one voice at a time is best.

PoisonDart
01-12-2011, 09:27 AM
My CDs are waiting for me when I get home. Oh man I can't wait. Great vids guys!

SweetWaterBlue
01-31-2011, 03:38 AM
I was in a pro band for some years..we had a lot of harmony in the act..I don't have a great voice..but if I sung my parts clear and loud along with the other guys ..the overall harmony worked very good..the trick is to learn your part as well as you can, until in your head, it becomes the melody (we used to work them out on the piano) going up and down semitones were the hardest for me...Oh yes!and take every chance you get, to draw a deep breath in between vocals.

I was re-reading this thread this morning, and that comment struck me. As I recall, when I was a young lad and the chorus director would teach us our parts (which she worked out on the piano) my part BECAME the melody to me. I would sing that song in my part over and over until it just became the song in my head. That doesn't work for on-the-fly harmonizing, but it sure works for pre-rehearsed stuff, even if you are only 12.